Talks between the government and student leaders are progressing at a snail's pace, although even protest organisers are now acutely worried that further disruption could alienate supporters.
The mass demonstrations to demand fully free elections have brought parts of Hong Kong to a standstill for more than a week, and while many in the city remain supportive of the movement, they also want to resume their daily lives.
Students held a third round of "preparatory talks" with government officials in a bid to set conditions for formal negotiations.
A senior government official said full talks were earmarked for Friday afternoon between students and Chief Secretary Carrie Lam, the deputy to Hong Kong leader Leung Chun-ying.
"The dialogue, date and time have been decided. We tentatively set it at 4 pm on Friday," deputy secretary for constitutional and mainland affairs Ray Lau told reporters.
The pro-democracy organisers had agreed to talks earlier with Lam but called them off last Friday after what they described as "organised attacks" on protesters at the Mong Kok demonstration site.
One Hong Kong delegate to China's rubberstamp parliament said the demonstrations would not overturn Beijing's August decision to vet candidates for the city's 2017 leadership elections.
"I don't see why the National People's Congress Standing Committee would change its decision... It was a nationwide decision and the decision has to face the country's 1.3 billion people," Rita Fan told reporters.
Tuesday saw another day of traffic mayhem, with diversions still in place causing nose-to-tail jams and commuter frustration, truncated bus routes and the reopening of primary schools adding to the chaos.
Police urged "students, onlookers and others" to leave the Mong Kok protest site, which has seen violent clashes.
"People holding different and strong views living in the area are highly emotional... The chance of further confrontations is increasing," senior superintendent Hui Chun-tak told reporters.